Bunch of anniversaries, lol, thanks for reminding LinkedIn

Ok I have crossed another year last year I have  crossed my 50 (in august) and now I am trying to make a living i the 2016.

th (1)LinkedIn helped me to remind me there have been some work anniversary for me this month, and so I receive a lot of congratulations, which I really appreciated.

I usually do not stop to think about those anniversary, but receiving all those message make me think on what I am doing. So basically I receive anniversary wishes for my blogs, my activity as a trainer, journalistwriter and for my current Job.

let’s talk a bit about my blog: The Puchi Herald (yes this one) and the related publications(actually several): a long journey started collecting info i think were interesting, and ended with this blog.

I have to admit a blog is a good way to send away some stress, I do not expect people reading it, when I write I write mostly from myself, to help my ideas get clear. Happy to know there is people around the world enjoying it. I should write more, but time tyranny does not me allow to be more consistent.

I will try to be more active though, I have plenty of ideas and so a few time to write. Luckily I am in china now and I can Use my weekends to write, since I have nothing else to do. But I will talk about it more later.

Time and work are the most shameful constrains, and so I haven’t been able to write more even as a journalist, so I have not been present in daftbogger and hakin9 or eforensic magazine. I will try to get back on track this year.

Now last but not last one year in my Chinese job.

I have to say it is a hard long difficult journey, language and cultural barrier are sometimes a big obstacle. Living in Shenzhen 50% of my time always in hotels make me regret I don’t know any Chinese, sometimes even a taxi can be a difficult activity (mostly if they don’t want to pick you up as occurred me this week).

People here is very good, and food is great, alas the knowledge of English is even worse than in Italy. Most of Chinese people who study English do not practice it (apparently at school they do only written tests) the result is that the spoken language does not exist and as a result communication is hard. Sometimes you can overcome it with Wechat (Wēixìn) translator, sometimes with smiles and gesture. But people try to help you if they can and they are always smiling. Sure they insist you should drink more hot water…. (still not get used to it)

Hot water, is the common drinking. If I have to see a difference I would say is in the way they drink..tea, hot water, hard to find cold drink. even beer is commonly served at room temperature (they consider it cold). sometimes they do not drink during meals, since usually have a soup of some kind. the overall quality of food is good, and street food, if you dare, is great. Top restaurant can be expensive, but not at western levels, but sometimes the queue is unbearable, I have seen people waiting 2 hours to be seated…no way.

Orientation can be a problem, all signs are in 2 languages, English and Chinese. The problem is that the English you read is not the Chinese translation, so sometimes is hard to explain where is the place you need to go or need to meet. But the metro is great, cheap and easy to sue. On the other end taxi are a challenge. you have red and green, green can go everywhere, red have restrictions. They can be stopped on the street (if you are lucky to find one) but don’t expect they talk any English. And sometimes the meter does not start … not only with western guys but also to Chinese people, so prepare to have unpredictable fare… There is Uber that can be used, alas I don’t know why I haven’t been able, it does not accept my Italian paypal and it seems not possible from here to connect my credit card.

And if you think to use a map … you should remember that google services does not work here, so better you have a Microsoft or Apple phone or download an offline map, unless you want to try a Chinese one (be my guest with the user interface, lol).

Hotels are a big question mark here, they look good, but it is hard to find an English-speaking support or even  English material telling what to do for, as an example, connecting to wifi or have standard services as room service. If there is a refrigerator (Chinese people does not like cold stuff, even beer should be requested cold) it is empty and disconnected, and if you are lucky you find 2 tv channels not in Chinese (one from Hong Kong, amusing the censorship when it strike). Of course this is not the situation in 5 star hotels for western and Chinese rich guests, hotels that are not passed by my company (3 stars in western standard are considered luxury).

Overall is easier to live than to work in china. The biggest differences are related to management style that is quite far from western standards, the Chinese attitude in business to not see the obstacle,  the complete dependency by procedure and rules that overrule even reality (not so different from some big western company you could say). Generally speaking is very hard for a Chinese to accept another point of view, mostly if coming from a western guy, they jump immediately on the defensive putting rules and policies in front of you. Even in front of evidence that the rule is not working there is a tangible reaction, all is forwarded to the “company” or the “managers”. Sometimes is frustrating, but I am starting to get used to, they have their way to overcome the problems, even if sometimes not at the requested speed (workaround are not always effective or timely, but workaround is all you can have here). As a general statement, it is not accepted any critic, and suggestions have to be carefully presented in a way that does not seems to contradict what they are doing. And anyway they will deny any difficulty. This is the reason they tend to have all Chinese managers and the biggest number of employees native Chinese or with Chinese heritage. The few westerns they keep on board are due to a critical lack of expertise or external constrains, and they have a hard life form a management and communication point of view. Some are happy, by the way, because this way they can live in a relative close and stable environment as long as they do not show themselves. let say that understatement, agree and not contradict is the best way to survive, easier in technical role, hard when it comes to business, communication, marketing or external related stuffs. Alas embracing the Chinese way is not in my strings so makes my surviving more difficult.


OK I wrote enough, may be too much.

see you to the next.



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Bunch of anniversaries, lol, thanks for reminding LinkedIn was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine

The Visa for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is driving me crazy

Map of the territory and area covered by prese...
Map of the territory and area covered by present-day Saudi Arabia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in an open interconnected world, travelling haven’t been easier than ever but if you travel a lot for job, as I have to do, well you find out that there is something that can really drive you crazy: the VISA on your passport.

The visa, is everything but the sign for an open world. It is a way to put barrier at our borders and controls who can get in and out, but sometimes it is interesting to find how VISA can be difficult to be managed… language barrier, cultural barrier and sometimes organizational issues can make your experience quite painful, even in country that we usually consider friendly.

I am now fighting with the visa for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should be in Riyadh to deliver some training after being in USA for the annual ISF meeting (where I have a speech)  of course business time constrain are not aligned with the VISA timing and therefore a business roundtrip can become a painful headache, mostly if, as for my case, you have to deal with some issues by yourself. Well the result is that while I am still trying to find out what I have to do and collect all the documentation my flight plan have to be changed dramatically and so, and this is not making me very happy indeed.

Now I understand why we need specialized structure dealing with visa :).

well I am not sure if I will be able to do all the required trip this time, but worth as a lesson for the future, if you need a visa plan it 3 month in advance because you never know…..



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The Visa for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is driving me crazy was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine